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Bauda - "Sporelights" (CD)

Bauda - "Sporelights" CD cover image

"Sporelights" track listing:

1. Aurora
2. Vigil
3. Sporelights
4. War
5. Tectonic Cells
6. Asleep In Layers
7. Dawn Of Ages

Reviewed by on January 5, 2016

"Now here's something well outside the norm that will push metal fans out of their comfort zones and try new sounds: Bauda has a very odd take on music, but one that's well worth hearing."

Now here's something well outside the norm that will push metal fans out of their comfort zones and try new sounds: Bauda has a very odd take on music, but one that's well worth hearing. Dark and cinematic, long stretches of the album aren't explicitly “metal” by a strict definition of the term, although its obvious the band members come from black metal backgrounds in the ways the songs are composed. When the metal does hit, it combines seamlessly with the atmospheric rock for a very compelling experience.

Spacey and incredibly atmospheric, “Sporelights” has more texture and actual songwriting than what you'd hear from something in the shoegaze category, despite being nominally tagged with that genre. If a specific sub-genre has to be placed on the album, it would probably be something along the lines of post-rock, but with obvious metal leanings and plenty of electronic additions.

A balance between instruments and vocals is struck, with several songs ditching the singing for extended periods. Those tracks that do feature a major vocal component tend towards a clean indie rock singing with lots of emotion. It's an interesting overall mix, because while there's a bit of the gloom you'd expect, on the whole the album has more of an uplifting vibe.

An eclectic album, different songs on “Sporelights” will draw comparisons to different bands. There are parts that honestly sound like a more toned down and melancholy Oasis, while others will appeal to the Anathema fan base. “War” in particular does the building, repeating, and swirling sound heard on Anathema's latest album “Distant Satellites.” Unfortunately the track does feel overlong by the end though, and it has a weirdly abrupt ending considering all the time spent building up.

A foray into more straightforward dark metal takes place on “Tectonic Cells,” which then jarringly shifts into the '80s rock style of “Asleep In Layers.” The one song that's a must hear is easily the title track, packing an incredible emotional punch, especially in the build up to the end, making the whole album worth the price of admission.

“Sporelights” is a bit uneven, as there are some songs that are clearly the standout tracks (“Vigil” and the title track dominate the disc as the easy winners) and others that don't match as well with the wide array of sounds on display here. If you dig any of the various melancholy post-rock or atmospheric offerings out there from metal bands though, Bauda's latest full-length should still be on your list of albums to check out.

Highs: Metal meets indie rock for a solid balance of melancholy tunes and uplifting singing.

Lows: The differing tone between tracks can get uneven and the long song lengths don't always work out well.

Bottom line: From Anathema to Oasis, Bauda takes rock influences and spins them through an atmospheric metal filter for a very interesting experience.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)